Rick still insisted no one else take care of his boat. This care included Jamie taking the boat for a sail on his days off. Rick, in reality, didn't have much time to sail anymore but made sure Jamie had a legitimate excuse to use the boat.
The Hawkeses had a kind streak but seemed terrified that someone would find out.
"Were you at the shelter this morning?" Rick handed the apple pie around.
"Just for a couple of hours. Christmas, Thanksgiving, we get a lot of volunteers," Jamie answered. "Wish they'd remember people are homeless other days of the year."
"You know, you never have been able to get Grenville down there." Trisha slyly caught Rick's eye. Jamie's inability to tolerate the least criticism of Grenville had been a family joke for years.
Once Rick tried to laugh about it to Grenville. Grenville had gazed at him with eyes of winter midnight and said, "Jamie's loyalty has always been one of his most estimable qualities. One we would all do well to emulate." Rick was uncomfortable enough with the look, the tone, the words, to never bring it up again.
As if cued, Jamie said, "Grenville writes us some nice-size checks. That's hard enough for him. People help in different ways."
He took a bite of pie. "It's not like I see your young smart asses down there helping, either."
They ate in silence for a moment. Then Mrs. Pivens cleared her throat.
"We enjoyed the Christmas pageant this year."
"Nobody fell off the stage and broke their arm. That's all I ever ask."
Jamie still couldn't figure out how the job of making scenery had turned into the job of assistant stage manager for the school plays. The job mainly consisted of helping Miss Maples herd kids on and off the stage, hissing lines to terrified performers.
"Mickey was a darling angel," Mrs. Pivens said.
Jamie laughed. "He's a little hell-raiser."
"Must get it from Katie," Trisha said.
"Wait till two years from now, when you get the twins," Mrs. Pivens said. "Katie and Mitch are bringing them all by a little later."
"I guess you know, Katie's started on her fourth," Jamie said. "Says she can already tell it's another boy."
Mrs. Pivens gave him a sympathetic look, but before anyone could say anything, Jamie got up, searched the fridge, and held up an icy bottle of champagne.
"Some Christmas cheer."
"This looks like good stuff." Rick eyed the foil label. "One of my chores this week was picking up the Christmas liquor," Jamie said. "I thought a tip was in order." Grenville had agreed. The cork made a satisfying explosion. "Merry Christmas."
When Jamie pulled the car around to the front entrance of the Manor, Grenville and Louisa were already down the steps. Lydia and Richard waved from the doorway, then the ponderous door swung shut.
Jamie opened the back door of the black Mercedes sedan.
"Do you think you are capable of driving us home?"
"More capable than you are," Jamie said. Grenville could drink anyone in town under the table, but his driving skills left much to be desired.
"Honestly, Jamie, have you ever seen Grenville hop?" Louisa asked in all seriousness.
Jamie thought it better not to answer. He stopped at the Lodge.
"Jamie," Louisa said, "if you ever get that firewood, you are under no circumstances to help unload it."
"I concur." Grenville opened the door for Louisa. "You are no longer five and twenty, and with your bad back..."
Jamie remained silent as they went into the Lodge. If Grenville did not return in ten minutes, Jamie knew to drive home alone. They should have gotten married a long time ago, Jamie thought. Then we'd have a little Hawkes running around the Hall I could teach to sail....
After a short time, Grenville joined Jamie in the front seat.
Jamie had made the drive between the Manor, the Lodge, and Hawkes Hall so many times he could have done it far drunker than he was now. He parked in front of the Hall and went around to open the door for Grenville—it was habit, Grenville no longer required servantlike behavior from him.
"Jamie." Grenville frowned at him.
Once that frown could make him cringe, but now Jamie realized Grenville just had too much port and was trying to think. No longer monster. No longer God.
Jamie gave him a hand out of the car.
"Look in the trunk."
"I ordered you a Christmas present and forgot to give it to you this morning."
"Yeah?" Jamie was astonished. He hadn't expected anything; Grenville wasn't in the habit of giving him presents, unless it was clothes—Grenville didn't think Jamie's wardrobe suitable to his station a lot of times—but Jamie couldn't remember a Christmas present other than a bonus.
"B-b-but I didn't get you anything." He hated it when his old stammer reappeared.
"Don't be absurd. Open the trunk."
Absurd; hell, Jamie thought. He'd go out and get Grenville a present tomorrow. He'd show him—
He looked uncomprehendingly at the bundle in the trunk. Grenville lifted it out.
"It's a goose-down quilt."
Geez, Jamie thought. We're both drunk. He took the bulky blanket. It was surprisingly lightweight.
"Last month, when that insufferable woman from the historical society was going through the house, I noticed what a draft comes through your chimney. Your fire goes out before morning, doesn't it?"
"Yeah," Jamie said. He was dumbfounded. He always did wake up cold, no matter how carefully he made up his fire. He couldn't remember a warm night at Hawkes Hall. Even in summer it held a chill. Too many trees. Too many secrets.
"Well, this should help."
"Yeah." Jamie hugged the quilt.
"Shall we go in before we freeze?" Grenville said.
Like he ever felt the cold, Jamie thought. The sharp wind made his eyes water, and he wiped them on the quilt.
Hawkes Hall, Hawkes Harbor, Delaware December 26, 1978
Jamie woke and dozed. A good morning. No bad dreams. Not the good one, either, but maybe tonight... No dread of the day. Not too much of a hangover. No freezing chills.
Damn quilt works like insulation, he thought, and as always, thanked God he knew who he was, where he was, why he was.
He never took that for granted. Always grateful for the gift of memory, flawed as it was.
And this morning, he was grateful for a lot of things, this quilt being at the top of the list. He rolled over to look at his clock and as usual, got distracted by pictures. His nightstand was crowded with photos these days, not pill bottles.
The group shot of the Christmas-pageant cast—the entire elementary school, Miss Maples on the top row, Jamie at the bottom. He changed that one every year, putting the old one in an album.
The one Rick took, of Jamie and Michelle and Diane clowning around on the sailboat. That one always made him smile.
Dr. McDevitt and his wife, taken on his around-the-world retirement cruise.
Katie—at her wedding. It had been the first formal occasion Jamie had ever attended, and he was as nervous as Mitch, and surprisingly, for Mitch.
In the reception line, he'd shook the lawman's hand, muttered, "Congratulations." Gave Katie a chaste peck on the cheek but couldn't speak—
She'd cried, "Oh Jamie!" and thrown her arms around his neck in a fierce embrace—
The photographer caught the moment.
The look on Mitch's face was priceless.
And Katie was so radiant—
One of his favorites was the black-and-white shot of Grenville that Michelle took, her first visit.
Copies hung in the library at the Manor, in Louisa's office at the Lodge. Michelle wanted it in her published collection, but Jamie'd asked her to leave it out.
Grenville in the great hall of Hawkes Hall, in his black silk smoking jacket, reading by candle- and firelight. It caught the essence of the man,
was a stunning piece of art, but what caused the greatest controversy was behind him, in the shadows of the corner, you could see if you looked carefully, the transparent figure of Sophia Marie.
Richard Hawkes always declared he saw nothing—yet refused to hang one in the office gallery.
Everyone else was awed by it....
Jamie was so warm it would be hard to get up ... then he saw his clock. "Holy shit!" Ten o'clock! He was normally up at seven a.m.
"I'm sorry," he stammered, rushing past Grenville, who sat sipping coffee in the kitchen. "I musta forgot to turn on the alarm."
"Don't worry, Jamie," Grenville said, without a trace of malice. "You'll be sorrier when you taste what I've concocted for coffee."
Jamie found no sign of breakfast in the kitchen, except for a pot of coffee. He poured himself a cup and sat down. Grenville turned the page of the newspaper.
"If that quilt is going to become a problem with your rising on time, I might take it back," Grenville said.